My Credit Card Is Dead! Long Live Freedom!

Today, my credit card died. But it was an untimely death, one that should have happened a long time ago. Today the old bat is pushing up daisies, with big X’s over its eyes.

The balance is ZERO! Woo Hoo! Let’s celebrate!

I haven’t been credit card debt free since 2002, and even then, I had been credit card debt free for only a couple of years. Since 1988 I have had credit card debt for all but two years. That’s 18 years of debt that is now gone for good and here are the reasons why:

I’ve realized how destructive credit card debt can be. It’s destructive in more ways that just the high interest and the financial bondage I’ve suffered under.

Credit card debt is a lie.

It’s a lie that I can have whatever I want with “easy payments.”
It’s a lie that I can “pay it off any time I want.”
It’s a lie that I deserve it.
It’s a lie that “it’s so convenient.”
It’s a lie that I need the airline miles.
It’s a lie that “I need it to build credit.”
It’s a lie that I’m in control.
It’s a lie that I only use it in “emergencies.”
It’s a lie that I only got it for the T-shirt.

Credit card debt is financial meth.

It drew me in, promising big screen TV’s, fancy electronic gadgets, plush new furniture, super 4 wheel ATV’s, and glorious vacations. Credit card debt is worse than keeping up with the Joneses because it convinced me that I could be the Joneses that everyone else hoped to keep up with. It suckered me into thinking I “needed” things to be happy…and I so easily believed it. The truth is: I wanted to believe it.

So, what’s different this time about being credit card debt free? Well, this time, I’m willing to admit those lies were lies I told myself. That’s a big step in the right direction. This time, I have my head on straight. I’m much more focused on my financial future and getting OUT of debt rather than focused acquiring “stuff.” I’ve realized that “stuff” only clutters up my life, my mind, and my garage. All that “stuff” will one day have a $1.50 sticker on it and be sitting in my driveway under a sign that reads “YARD SALE.”

Since December of 2007, my wife and I have paid off $12,000 in credit card debt. How did we do it? I used a large chunk of my bonus, took some money out of savings, used my Federal tax refund, used my state refund, used my Economic Stimulus check, and doubled the amount I was paying on a regular basis by saving money on food using The Grocery Game.

What’s left on our debt plan is to pay off my daughter’s braces and then my wife’s minivan. Those two debts along with the old amount I was paying on the credit card will free up a great deal of cash that I can use toward paying off my student loans. With the amount I’ll now be paying per month, they won’t last long. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel!

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